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Sunday 21st, September 2008

Not Fasting in Ramadan

Three Shrimp and a Fish Pie

Three Shrimp and a Fish Pie, originally uploaded by Lilandra.

There are many reasons to not fast during Ramadan, you could be sick (either a passing thing or chronically), travelling (this doesn’t have to be only during the actual travel, changing climates and time zones can affect you also), pregnant or menstruating. I’ve known people with Diabetes who fast…but deciding on whether you fast or not is between you, God and your doctor. Some say, well, the non-muslim doctors will always tell you don’t fast! don’t fast (at least, when I was unwell that’s what people told me…but then four years later and I’m much better than I was then, and my GP is a female muslim doctor…and she herself told me…well watch how you fasting. She didn’t come out right and say don’t fast because she knew I was going to try but she did tell me it’s okay you know, if I decide not to. So whatever!

However, not waking up for suhur is not an excuse not to fast. If you’re making sunnah (voluntary fasts, outside of Ramadan) then if you don’t wake up for Suhur you don’t usually fast. In Ramadan however, if you are healthy you must fast. The commandment isn’t “wake up for Suhur” but it is “fast”.

You may think not fasting in Ramadan is nice. Like when the days come that you don’t have to fast, “wooohooo”. This isn’t really the case. For example, in your household, suppose one person isn’t fasting and everybody else is…you might feel a bit strange eating while other people aren’t. (Actually, growing up, people in school and such always apologized or wanted to hide their eating in front of me. It’s not necessary. I’m fasting, you’re not. Please … eat. The physical manifestation of fasting is abstaining from food and drink but if that’s all you get from it then you’re not working for the true benefit).

Aside from feeling strange eating while others aren’t, there’s the whole remembering to eat issue. You may not be fasting for very good reasons (like you need to eat every two hours!) but your brain/mind/whatever knows it’s in Ramadan and is already geared up to not eat and withstand some deprivations…so you’re already trained to ignore food calls…and well…you forget to eat. This always happens to me. I go hours without eating and then realize, I’m not fasting, I am supposed to eat…I must eat…go…eat…!

To me, the real dangers of Ramadan is actually not fasting. It’s not that you’re tempted to go along and eat less…it’s just you’re sooo conditioned not to eat than you negate the purpose of not fasting and don’t take care of yourself when you should.

Now, back to Friday.

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